Empty shops on Lavender Hill

The blight of estate agent boards will soon be gone from Lavender Hill now the Secretary of State has approved the council’s application allowing the signs to be banned from certain areas.

The application—under the town and country planning regulations—essentially removes the deemed consent for advertising in the area. While it might be reasonable for estate agents to advertise properties, such signs are less relevant in an internet age. Instead the signs are often left in place as a advert for the agents themselves, but leave the area looking tatty and down-at-heel.

Town Centre Partnerships across the borough have been campaigning for years to see this introduced, it has been very effective across the river in large parts of Kensington and Chelsea for several years. More locally, the inclusion of Lavender Hill in the scheme is largely down to one local resident’s tenacity in standing up for the road.

It’s a small step for Lavender Hill, but one in the right direction.

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I say this knowing that it could be taken the wrong way, so let me state that I obviously don’t like to see any business doing badly (except, perhaps, Foxtons – but doesn’t everybody?) but I couldn’t help but be pleased to see that there is a planning application in to change one of Lavender Hill’s many estate agents into a cafe.

155 Lavender Hill (on the corner of Lavender Hill and Thirsk Road) used to be We’re Moving – until they moved themselves to Battersea Rise.  The premises have been empty for a while, but are now subject to a planning application to change from a class A2 usage (which covers professional services like estate agents) into a class A3 usage (a café) along with some outside seating for customers.

A lot of people feel there are too many estate agents on Lavender Hill and sometimes it seems their expansion is unstoppable – so it’s good to see one going the other way.

The application in question is from Il Molino – who already run an excellent café on Battersea Park Road – so it should be a great addition to Lavender Hill.

If you wish to view the application you can see it on the council’s planning website by entering the application number 2009/2613.